Creativity and Innovation – Five Impacts from Globalization

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Jan 05

Over the last several posts, I’ve taken a look at the latest Corporate “next big thing” – creativity and innovation. Today, I’ll take a look at five impacts on corporate innovation from the continuing globalization of business.

There are numerous impacts on companies – and Cubicle Warriors – from globalization. Just because innovation is the “next big thing” in corporations doesn’t mean that the global economy has no impact on this culture change.

Here are my five impacts:

  1. Globalization forces faster innovation. Companies are using global resources for getting things to market faster, not just to save money on operations. As a result, good companies know how their global resources can offer them speed to market on innovations. The classic example is one where the product is enabled through technology and the technology is developed 24-hours a day using outsourced programmers around the globe. Programming and testing 24-hours a day saves a lot of time to market compared to 8-hours a day.

  2. Well run companies utilize global resources better. As in anything done by a corporation, how well you execute and deliver on what you are trying to do for customers makes a difference. Innovation and creativity is no different – and can be found anywhere on the planet. If your company knows the strengths of each of the areas of business, it can combine those resources in the best way possible to innovate. If you want to build a product, you can get engineering done in one country, design in a different country, and manufacture the product in yet a different country. How a company shares information and sees the world as one process makes a significant difference in how well innovation can be executed.
  3. Innovation comes from anywhere in the company. One of the most important aspects of the “speed of innovation” is the ability to quickly implement iterative changes to a product or process. Globalization allows you to have these iterative differences come back as an idea from anywhere. For example, if you are manufacturing in multiple countries, an idea in one country can be extended or used in a different country – if your company processes will allow you to see the opportunity. Too often, companies operate in silos and the miss significant opportunities for innovation because of it.
  4. Innovation won’t work the same everywhere. A global economy means products and processes need to be tweaked wherever they are used. A product sold in the United States will need to be tweaked to be sold in Germany. An operational process that is innovative in Germany will need to be tweaked to work in the United States. Culture, laws and regulations, physical layouts of plants, and different infrastructure are some of the catalysts for having to tweak the innovative idea.
  5. Competition is global – including innovation. Innovation is being touted as the answer to staying competitive in the world marketplace. Yet, the world is a much smaller place and if you think that you can win because you are innovative and no one else is, that will change. Companies are constantly stealing or adapting ideas to their own products and operations. Innovation is no different. Fortunately, the output of innovation and creativity is an unknown. If the output is a product that more closely meets customer needs or improves the efficiency and effectiveness of a process, the result can’t be readily duplicated. That’s the window of competitive superiority that results from innovation.